We call out to women’s activists, both men and women, everywhere to join networks and speak up and out with confidence to promote women’s rights and equality. Our work and participation is essential for social change, and that places us in a position of strength.
The Midan gave birth to many movements that have already achieved a deep shift in attitudes towards greater equality for women, and this legacy must be built upon even in periods of political upheaval, war or oppression. We call out to women’s activists, both men and women, everywhere to join networks and speak up and out with confidence to promote women’s rights and equality. Our work and participation is essential for social change, and that places us in a position of strength. Finally, we would like to dedicate this declaration to all the women activists who lost their lives, are in detention or are suffering whilst fighting in the Midan. Your voices have been heard, and we are dedicated to amplifying them.
Stockholm – 2 December 2015
We, the participants at the WoMidan seminar, come together from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Ukraine, France, Italy, Greece, Sweden, and other European countries as young activists for women’s rights and empowerment. We are women and men from different backgrounds, religions, professions, and with diverging political views, but we all share the belief that the empowerment of women is a precondition for sustainable change and progress.
While we come from diverse contexts, our societies face serious challenges in regards to gender equality and equal political, economic and social participation and opportunities. Recent experiences in the Midans (“Squares”), of our cities have shown that women, when they participate and speak out, are particularly subject to physical, sexual and psychological violence; to disempowering stereotypes; to hate speech and other forms of abuse. We have come together to identify priorities and actions for women’s activism, among which:
Establishing a secure environment for women to be engaged in spurring social and political change
It is imperative for civil society, media and in particular governments to take action to ensure that women are safe when they raise their voices or exercise their political rights. Governments should be put under pressure to ensure accountability for any use of violence or threats of violence targeted against women by the police, military, other agents of the state, by armed groups and by individuals. Civil society and international community should constantly monitor and report violence against women to build pressure for concerted action.
Formal and informal – is a crucial vector for changing attitudes and gender misperceptions in order to provide all with skills, confidence and opportunities to be fully engaged in public life.
Media practitioners have a particularly important responsibility in combatting gender stereotypes in both language and images, and ensuring a plural and diverse public sphere.
Gender equality and reducing gender gaps are in the interests of everyone
The issues of work-life balance, different career choices and sexual freedom are ever more important issues of our times for both men and women.
Civil society organisations, social movements and individual activists have a responsibility to come together
In and beyond the Midan – to share experiences, build solidarity, organize themselves politically and work together to ensure an empowering environment for women.